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#FirstPerson: Should you swap out your laptop for a tablet-keyboard?

The days of spotting laptop-toting entrepreneurs at coffee shops are numbered… or are they?

Given the emergence of high-performance tablets and many travel-friendly snap-on keyboards in the market, the tablet-keyboard duo has become a major trend. Until recently, my laptop (primary work device) and my tablet were used separately. My laptop for all the emails, editing, presentations and calls, while my tablet was purely for entertainment, reading on a flight and gaming. However, I recently decided to swap my laptop for a tablet-keyboard combo, to test out how this trendy tech aesthetic works.

I spent the last two months exclusively using an Apple iPad Air, paired with the Magic Keyboard as a replacement for my work laptop. This is how it panned out for me.

tablet keyboard

Adjusting to smaller dimensions

Of course, it took me a couple of days to get used to the difference in size. From a standard size laptop to working all day on a 10.9-inch screen, I did feel a bit disoriented at first, but my hands and mind quickly got used to it. Looking at the keyboard at first, I did have a reservation that my large hands would feel a bit cramped while typing. However, that was entirely not the case. We have, in the past, seen notebooks in more or less the same size, so it’s not an entirely new feeling to the hands.

Interaction and Gestures

While on the subject of disorientation, I also had to unlearn how I interacted with a traditional laptop. From the traditional mouse and trackpad motions, I was now faced with having to learn the following interactions — Touchscreen interface, keyboard-tablet interaction, and the trackpad on this keyboard. In fact, I got so used to finger-scrolling on the tab that I started scrubbing my laptop screen instinctively when I next used it.

Tablet keyboard

Daily, on-the-go functioning

As I mentioned earlier, tablets made today, like this one are powerful enough to handle multitasking with effortless ease. Thanks to the super-fast A14 Bionic chip on my iPad Air, it makes things much faster and glitch-free. Apps work smooth, documents open within seconds, and I can even switch between apps using the onscreen gestures (or the favourite Command + Tab shortcut on the keyboard).

Here’s what won me over. Given the powerful processor, I’ve started editing heavy 4K videos on the iPad itself, something that I wasn’t accustomed to. This is particularly great for on-the-go working when I need to carry a smaller device to edit daily travel vlogs at the end of every day. Pro tip: I definitely recommend the LumaFusion app to edit your videos, as it is specifically designed for an iPad interface and seamlessly does the job. Given how slim and compact my tablet keyboard is, it conveniently fits into my backpack. Whether I’m at a business meeting, in the backseat of a car or inflight, it’s definitely a practical tech solution. This, in my opinion, is the biggest advantage of using a tablet on a daily basis.

Pencil/Stylus – The tool you didn’t know you need

With tablets, I’ve never been one for the stylus, as I’ve traditionally been an obsessive notebook writer. Till I discovered the Apple Pencil, which has taken me away from my paper notebook as I find myself writing everything down on my tablet. App recommendations include Penbook, where you can customise your page layouts. Moleskine, famous for its classic journals, also features an amazing writing app, which I have been playing around with extensively.

Where are my files?

Given the penchant I have for active file and folder organising, I’m very used to the file-folder eco-system of a standard laptop. This, I would say in all honesty, is still a mild downside of using a tablet. In my case, while Apple’s ‘Files’ option is still very much present, I do not think it translates entirely into how comfortable I am with my file set up on my laptop. As things stand, I’ve made a folder for my Word documents, pdfs and some photographs, but my primary ‘storage’  device will continue to be my laptop.

tablet keyboard

Here’s my verdict

Armed with the right tablet that’s powerful enough to execute all my daily work, run hefty softwares while paired with a nifty keyboard, I could see myself using an iPad Air as my daily ‘primary’ device, even more so when I am travelling. I’d still stick to my laptop when dealing with heavier tasks as well as when I need to document and catalogue documents better. It’s just a sense of security that I like to have. Should you switch to a smaller, lighter, powerful tablet for daily use and ease of portability? I’d definitely say yes!

All images: Courtesy brands

Riaan George

Riaan J. George is a luxury journalist and blogger based between Mumbai, India and Colombo, Sri Lanka. He has also worked for several leading luxury publications including L’Officiel India, Eat Stay Love, Blackbook India and India Traveller. He is passionate about covering beats like luxury trends, grooming, men’s fashion, auto, hospitality and aviation.